Coincidence of Words and Deeds
He made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it as scores of pious people welcomed him as a man sent from God. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was a master of outward religiosity--with no inward reality!
Today in the Word, June 3, 1989.
Congressman addressing House of Representatives: "Never before have I heard such ill-informed, wimpy, back-stabbing drivel as that just uttered by my respected colleague, the distinguished gentleman from Ohio."
E.E. Smith in the Wall Street Journal.
During one of his political campaigns, a delegation called on Theodore Roosevelt at his home in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The President met them with his coat off and his sleeves rolled up.
"Ah, gentlemen," he said, "come down to the barn and we will talk while I do some work."
At the barn, Roosevelt picked up a pitchfork and looked around for the hay. Then he called out, "John, where's all the hay?"
"Sorry, sir," John called down from the hayloft. "I ain't had time to toss it back down again after you pitched it up while the Iowa folks were here."
Bits & Pieces, November 12, 1992, pp. 19-20.
Have you checked the labels on your grocery items lately? You may be getting less than you thought. According to U.S. News & World Report, some manufacturers are selling us the same size packages we are accustomed to, but they are putting less of the product in the box. For example, a box of well-known detergent that once held 61 ounces now contains only 55. Same size box, less soap.
How something is wrapped doesn't always show us what's on the inside. That's true with people as well. We can wrap ourselves up in the same packaging every day -- nice clothes, big smile, friendly demeanor -- yet still be less than what we appear to be.
Daily Bread, June 22, 1992.
Some years ago a remarkable picture was exhibited in London. As you looked at it from a distance, you seemed to see a monk engaged in prayer, his hands clasped, his head bowed. As you came nearer, however, and examined the painting more closely, you saw that in reality he was squeezing a lemon into a punch bowl!
What a picture that is of the human heart! Superficially examined, it is thought to be the seat of all that is good and noble and pleasing in a man; whereas in reality, until regenerated by the Holy Ghost, it is the seat of all corruption. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather that light."
Moody's Anecdotes, p. 69.
The death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin is reputed to have been caused by a seizure suffered at a meeting of the Presidium, the Communist party executive committee. Livid with fury, Stalin leaped from his seat, only to crash to the floor unconscious. While other Presidium members stared at the prone figure, scheming bureaucrat Laverenti Beria jumped up and danced around the body shouting, "We're free at last! Free at last!" But as Stalin's daughter forced her way into the room and fell on her knees by her father, the dictator stirred and opened one eye. Beria at once dropped down beside Stalin, seized his hand, and covered it with kisses.
Today in the Word, September, 1991, p. 16.
The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a World War she served until she was retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California.
During the conversion, her three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted. But on the dock they crumbled. Nothing was left of the 3/4 inch steel plate from which the stacks had been formed. All that remained were more than thirty coasts of paint that had been applied over the years. The steel had rusted away.
When Jesus called the Pharisees "Whitewashed tombs," He meant they had no substance, only an exterior appearance.
Toward the end of the fourth and the beginning of the third century B.C. there was a very famous architect by the name of Sostratos. The king of Egypt used him in order to build the famous beacon light of Alexandria. The king's purpose in building this beacon light was that the ships might find their way into the safety of the port. When the building was completed, architect Sostratos chiseled his own name on a stone that was part of the building. He did not want it to be readily visible and so he covered it with mud and whitewash. On top of that he wrote with gold letters the king's name so that when the waves hit the mud it would wash it away and his own name would appear.
Robert Redford was walking one day through a hotel lobby. A woman saw him and followed him to the elevator. "Are you the real Robert Redford?" she asked him with great excitement. As the doors of the elevator closed, he replied, "Only when I am alone!"
England's Prince Philip was toasted at a banquet once with two lines from John Dryden:
A man so various that he
seem'd to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
The prince liked the lines so much he looked up the rest of the poem:
Stiff in opinions, always
in the wrong;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long:
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.
Paul Dickson, Toasts
We're all like the moon, we have a dark side we don't want anyone to see.
Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?" Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king."
My brother adopted a snake named Slinky, whose most disagreeable trait was eating live mice. Once I was pressed into going to the pet store to buy Slinky's dinner. The worst part of this wasn't choosing the juiciest-looking creatures or turning down the clerk who wanted to sell me vitamins to ensure their longevity. The hardest part was carrying the poor things out in a box bearing the words "Thank you for giving me a home."
Joanne Mitchell, Reader's Digest, February, 1990.
A rather pompous-looking deacon was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment's pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it's because they don't know you."
There was a preacher who was interviewing with a pastoral search committee. An English teacher headed the committee, and was very concerned that the future pastor spoke properly. "When the hen is on the nest, does she sit or set?" he asked the candidate. The hopeful pastor was frustrated. He didn't know what to say, and his career was on the line. Finally he replied, "It really doesn't matter if she's sitting or setting. What I want to know is this: when she cackles is she laying or lying?"
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
One blistering hot day when they had guests for dinner, Mother asked 4-year old Johnny to return thanks. "But I don't know what to say!" the boy complained. "Oh, just say what you hear me say" his mother replied. Obediently the boy bowed his head and mumbled, "Oh Lord, why did I invite these people over on a hot day like this?"
When it comes to term papers, you're the creative type who likes to ponder your brilliant ideas before committing them to a typed page. Trouble is, your parents are clock watchers who are ever-mindful of your approaching deadline and expect the sound of constant production from your room.
Despair no more. You can all be satisfied, thanks to "Genius at Work," a long-needed cassette tape now on the market. After dinner, retreat to your room, shut the door and turn on your tape recorder. Your walls will instantly echo with the industrious sounds of paper being rolled into a typewriter, followed by the click-clickity-click clatter of somebody hard at work. A full 60 minutes of stereo-typing, while you recline in peaceful procrastination.
The "Genius at Work" tapes, produced by Dying Need Industries, can be purchased by writing: P.O. Box 124, Hubbard Woods, Il 60093. They cost $6.95 each...which shows who the real genius is.
Campus Life, March, 1981, p. 31.
We Americans do not adequately appreciate the political process in our nation. During the campaign, I often recounted a nightmarish 1938 incident from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, by way of contrast:
A district party conference was under way in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference with every mention of his name). The hall echoed with "stormy applause, raising to an ovation." For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the "stormy applause, rising to an ovation," continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who adored Stalin. However, who would dare to be the first to stop? The secretary of the District Party could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of a man who'd been arrested. He was afraid! After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on -- six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn't stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly -- but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?
The director of the local paper factor, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter... Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.
That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him: "Don't ever be the first to stop applauding!"
Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Winning the New Civil War, pp. 25-27.
Anyone who has ever taught or attempted to lead others knows the tendency in all of us toward exaggerating our depth of character while treating leniently our flaws. The Bible calls this tendency hypocrisy. We consciously or subconsciously put forward a better image of ourselves than really exists. The outward appearance of our character and the inner reality (that only God, we, and perhaps our family members know) do not match.
C.S. Lewis explains the conflict in The Four Loves: Those like myself, whose imagination far exceeds their obedience, are subject to a just penalty; we easily imagine conditions far higher than any we have really reached. If we describe what we have imagined we may make others, and make ourselves, believe that we have really been there.
Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, pp. 26.